How can I turn this into a book/series?

Question: I know exactly what I want, I just can't figure out how to organize it into a book. When I get an idea it plays in my head like a movie so it's never hard for me to take the movie in my head and make it into a book. My problem is that the idea I have now I think of like a TV show. How can I turn the show in my head into a series? When I picture this story everything is connected but I think in episodes not movies. Also with this I think about different bad guys like how in some TV shows there's a different big bad every season. So how can I organize this so that it works as a book series? I'm thinking maybe a 3 book thing would work like, each 3 books would have their own bad guy sort of like it being one season but it's still all the same series and connected. Or I could just write my first story (season) and it play out however many books it takes and just continue and bring in a new bad guy when the first bad guy is done. Do you have any advice or suggestions on the way I can organize or structure my story so that it works and makes sense? I know there are shows based on a series but I've never read one so I don't know how that works. I feel like I'm almost doing the opposite by taking a TV show idea and turning it into a book series which I have no idea how to do. I can picture it but I just don't know how to organize it. Any suggestions?

A few possibilities come to mind...

1. If your idea is more episodic, you might consider writing a series of short stories and trying to sell them to literary magazines. Lots of writers do this. Make sure you sell only the first publication rights and retain subsequent rights, so that eventually you can package the stories into an anthology that can be published as a standalone book. The nice thing about this approach is you get paid twice for the same stories. It also means you don't have to make as much of a commitment in the beginning until you see how well your characters are received.

2. If each episode seems to be more book length than short story length, then you can certainly consider writing a series of novels, each of which features the same characters in different adventure. Many mystery series work this way. The difference between this and, for example, a trilogy is that each book offers a standalone story. However, as with a trilogy, readers who like one of the books in the series will be inclined to buy the others. (The other advantage for the readers is that it doesn't matter so much which book they read first.)

3. A third approach is to make each book a standalone story, but at the same time have an overarching series plot that unfolds over the course of several books. Even though each book is a completely separate work, the series plot is like a subplot in the early books. The subplot gives the reader an additional reason to read the next book in the series (to see how this series plot develops).

4. A more developed variation is to make each book one act of the series. The plot of each book resolves itself, but in a way that sends the characters in a new direction in the next book. This is what you see in true trilogies, tetralogies, etc.

5. The most extreme form is the multi-volume book, in which nothing is resolved until the last book. This can be frustrating for the readers who pick up volume one (not knowing what they are getting into) and find themselves left hanging. Some readers disliked the first volume of The Lord of the Rings for this reason.

Each of these variations has advantages and disadvantages. Consider television series. Most series used to be completely episodic (options 1 & 2). The advantage was that new viewers could start watching at any point in the series and get an enjoyable story, so it was easier to grow an audience over time. In recent years, TV shows have tended to have long story arcs that unfold over the course of a season or even several seasons. This helps them retain viewers (who want to see how everything gets resolved). However, a viewer who tunes in half-way through the first season can feel so lost that they give up and switch channels (or perhaps wait and stream the entire series from the beginning).

It sounds like you are leaning towards one of the first two options. If so, you should probably focus on writing the first story, but keep track of your ideas for subsequent stories in case the first one sells.

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